London, 1984. Sitting in the filthy rundown kitchen of her shared house, Carly is contemplating her feelings towards the baby growing inside her. Carly's housemates visit the kitchen to smoke, drink seemingly endless cups of tea and let off steam. Each encounter further fuels the tempest of emotions raging in Carly's heart.
Hey Hannah thanks for talking to TNC, are you all set for Brighton Fringe?
As ready as we’ll ever be!
What does it mean for you to be able to bring Kitchen Sink to Brighton?
Plays like Kitchen Sink exist because of Fringe Theatre and it means so much to part of a festival I would go to as a young, inspired theatre maker. The play’s rough and ready feel allows it to thrive at the Brighton Fringe by taking a shipping container turned theatre and recreating it once more into a 1980s run-down kitchen. It is a play which the Brighton Fringe can bring to life, unlike any other venue, allowing me to take ownership of my work in its entirety, giving me the creative control to present it to our audience in a style the Fringe celebrates.
Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?
I think I’m nervous about quite a lot, from things like having something I care a lot about and worked so hard on being presented to people for the first time, to the seemingly smaller, but just scary things like making sure that the props will be set in the right wing! But my excitement definitely overrides any of these nerves. I can’t wait.
Can you tell me about Kitchen Sink, how did the show come about?
When I was studying theatre in year 12 we were asked to write a short play for a script writing unit. I was watching Shawn Meadow’s This Is England ‘86 series at the time and was inspired by the gritty drama’s characters, narrative and approach to the time period. From there Kitchen Sink was born - a play set in the little rundown 80s kitchen, full of dirty teacups, cigarette smoke and people with plenty to hide. When deciding to bring a show to Brighton Fringe 2019 I looked back at my original script that was probably only about 12 pages and cringed at a lot of what I had written 3 years ago but knew I could develop this vision I had at the time to the show it now is today.
Have you always had a passion for theatre?
From the age of 7, I was part of pretty much any drama club I could be and spent all the way of primary school up to secondary being that kid who took all the drama lessons way too seriously. At the age of 14, I went to study theatre at The BRIT School with the hope of being an actor. But throughout my years I realised my passion wasn’t all about being on the stage and I discovered my love for devising, writing and working in an ensemble to create original pieces of theatre that speak about things I care about as a 19 year old female living in South London.
How did Half Full Glass Theatre come about?
We all met through studying theatre and had been part of a year 14 course where we were members of the Andrew Lloyd Theatre Company. As a group, we share common values pushing boundaries and re-setting expectations in devising new theatrical works. The core of our presentational ethos is a desire to tell stories that challenge and entertain audiences.
What inspires your work?
Mainly theatre companies who I’ve studied at school or seen their work - Anonymous is a Woman, Nouveau Riche, Punchdrunk. But as I wrote a lot of my inspiration comes from films I have always loved like John Hodge’s Trainspotting, again, Shawn Meadow’s work, Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank.
How much has your approach to theatre changed since you started out?
It has changed quite a bit throughout my experiences from studying theatre, then to being part of a company to then having my own company and creating my own work. Despite these experiences shaping me as a theatre maker, making the creative decisions on my own accord has sort of made me approach theatre with more artistic freedom.
In theatre how important is the collaborative process for you when you're creating a show?
For Kitchen Sink, it has been crucial to creating the show we have now. I have worked with our cast members for several years and this familiarity brings a natural comfortability to the ensemble, as years of getting to know each other as individual artists have enabled us to create a play which can take a step into more vulnerable territories. Although I have written and directed the play, so many of the little gems throughout the piece came from this process that has made my words on paper transferred into real, living moments on a stage.
"...lot of my original ideas and thoughts of what the play would be has changed massively."
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
A theatre teacher told me that I should make my own work, just to ‘get out there and do it myself.’ The simple way he put it is definitely a lot easier said than done, but it also gave me a push to notice there isn’t anything stopping me either.
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow theatre maker?
To not be afraid to throw things away. The first draft of Kitchen Sink was written in 2016 and now being performed in 2019 a lot of my original ideas and thoughts of what the play would be has changed massively. But without have having let go of many parts of the piece I had worked hard on, the play wouldn’t have had the journey it has and never developed into its production today.
What 3 words best describe your show?
Surprising, challenging and honest.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your show?
We hope people will take a little part of our rundown kitchen away with them and have been presented with something that may have made them feel uncomfortable, but will make them question and think about moments within the play once they have left the theatre.